Transcribe phonemically the following words indicating primary stress.

Engineering, appointment, presidential, fundamental, examination, conversion, opportunity.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

English words can have variable stress depending upon the variety of English begin spoken. While there are many varieties of natively spoken English in the world, such as in India and Malaysia, I'll focus on American English and English English, which now and then have some interesting stress differences. Interestingly enough, the stress differences extend to sentence stress as well, to the extend that, on occasion, a perfectly good English English sentence will seem to have no or a confused meaning to an American listener solely because of sentence stress differences, and vice versa.

The first word in your list "engineering" has the same stress in both American and English English: engi 'neering, with a phonemic difference: UK /ˌen.dʒɪˈnɪə.rɪŋ/; US /ˌen.dʒɪˈnɪr.ɪŋ/. Similarly with "appointment," which is ap 'pointment /əˈpɔɪnt.mənt/. For the third in a row, the pronunciations of "presidential" are the same for both: presi 'dential /ˈprez.ɪ.dənt/.

Well this isn't a very exciting list yet. "Fundamental" is also the same in both: funda 'mental /ˌfʌn.dəˈmen.təl/. And again, for "examination, both are exami 'nation /ɪgˌzæm.ɪˈneɪ.ʃən/. "Conversion" for both is con 'version /kənˈvɜː.ʃən/. Last chance: "Opportunity" is oppor 'tunity /ˌɑː.pɚˈtuː.nə.t ̬i/ in American English as well as in English English, although there is a phonemic difference; UK /ˌɒp.əˈtjuː.nə.ti/; US /ˌɑː.pɚˈtuː.nə.t ̬i/. And there you have it.

[American English pronunciation from; English English pronunciation and IPA spelling from Cambridge Dictionaries Online.]

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial